OPINION: Meriden’s municipal golf course is a gem

OPINION: Meriden’s municipal golf course is a gem

This spring I got a senior golf pass at Hunter Golf Club in Meriden. I really love the game of golf but, due to advancing age and some medical handicaps, my game has suffered.

Back in the day, when I was a more competitive golfer, I could put up some good scores in the low eighties. I even had two holes-in-one at Hunter and once scored a birdie (with a penalty shot) on the first hole after hitting my drive in the brook.

Nowadays I’m lucky to break 100. In fact, I only record birdies and pars on my scorecard, which is nearly empty of scores after a round.

I figure my game is now “50 percent social, 40 percent exercise, and 10 percent golf.” But I still enjoy the game and occasionally hit a shot reminiscent of the good old days. That’s one of the great things about the game of golf — it can be enjoyable at many levels of play and for many reasons.

Recently, I played a round and was paired with Lisa. She was also a senior (retired from an insurance agency and drove a school bus part-time). As she took some practice swings I could tell she could play — and did she ever! Her drives were straight down the middle and she made crisp iron shots. Her short game was unbelievable as she chipped and putted like a pro. Although I was obviously bigger and stronger, she outdrove me most of the time and beat me on most of the holes. But I just resigned myself to the fact that “it is what it is” and actually enjoyed the 50 percent social/40 percent exercise aspects (not so much the 10 percent golf!).

But golfers are mostly eternal optimists. They’re always eager to come back for more glory or punishment, as the case may be. I, like many golfers, tend to remember and cherish the occasional good shot and am quick to forget many disastrous ones. I’m always thinking about finding that positive swing-thought that will be the key to good golf.

Once in a while, when I get in a good groove, I think I’m back to the good old days. I come home and tell my wife that “I found the secret.”

Of course, when I play my next round and come home in not the best mood, Nancy asks: “Did you lose the secret?” Turns out golf secrets for a good swing are very elusive and fleeting. But the challenge continues.

We are very fortunate in Meriden to have an exceptionally nice municipal golf course, Hunter Golf Club (established in 1929) on Westfield Road.

The golf commission, made up of local residents appointed by the mayor and approved by the Meriden City Council, oversees the governance of the course. They work to ensure that the course and Violi’s restaurant are operated in tip-top condition.

Over the years, the City Council has approved important renovations and upgrades to the course with a major overhaul in 1987 that changed the layout, added new holes, the restaurant, men’s and women’s facilities, and an irrigation system. In recent years, the irrigation system was further upgraded with a state-of-the art two-track system that allows for full irrigation of the course. Every year improvements are made to the tees, sand traps and cart paths.

This golf facility is one of the finest public and most challenging courses in Connecticut. It offers beautiful scenic views with undulating fairways and also serves as a winter recreational area for sledding and cross-country skiing.

I look forward to many more rounds of golf this season at Hunter and remain hopeful that I will find and keep that elusive “secret” that will bring back my golfing glory days.

Meanwhile, I wish all my fellow golfers the best for an enjoyable golfing season.

Michael S. Rohde is a former mayor and city councilor of Meriden.


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